Open-sourced Blockchain Technologies Bring Back Cross-border Tours between Chinese Mainland and Macau
China’s open-source blockchain platform FISCO BCOS and WeIdentity, has enabled cross-border travel once again during the pandemic between the Mainland and Macau. With a mutual recognition system of the Macau blockchain health code and the Guangdong health code launched in May (2020), mainland Chinese tourists can apply and use the Guangdong health code to verify their health status when entering Macau.
Chinese mainland eased travel restrictions and resumed issuing visas for visitors to Macau from September 23 (2020). Since then,more than 17 million people have cleared customs between Chinese mainland and Macau using the blockchain system. Average time of receiving, transforming, and generating the health code for the first time is around 100 seconds.When travellers clear customs again the process takes less than 3 seconds to complete.
Serviços de Saúde de Macau (SSM) and Macao Science and Technology Development Fund (FDCT) became the first to establish a blockchain-based health code system to fight the pandemic – Macau blockchain health code. It serves as an electronic pass for residents to access public places. It is a coherent part of Macau’s epidemic prevention measures and was later extended to add the mutual recognition mechanism with the Chinese mainland’s Guangdong health code system. Due to the pandemic, Macau suspended tourist visa applications in January 2020. The establishment of the Macau blockchain health code and the mutual recognition mechanism with Guangdong health code the efficiency and accuracy of information verification across borders has been vastly improved. It has proven to be an effective solution to bring travel between Chinese mainland and Macau back to regular levels.
Mutual recognition of health codes across jurisdictions has been a major challenge to overcome with the different information security and privacy protection regulations in both Chinese mainland and Macau. Health authorities in Chinese mainland and Macau need to verify the health information submitted by users crossing the border however they are not supposed to exchange data directly with each other for compliance with their corresponding regulations.
The mutual recognition mechanism enables the seamless conversion of health codes for the users without the need to fill in personal information repeatedly on different platforms, offering more convenience and ease of use for cross-border travelers.
The way WeIdentity solution works – IDs and personal health data are encrypted to verifiable digital credentials signed by the issuing authorities and recorded on the consortium blockchain network serving the participating organizations. Users transmit data to the receivers directly via a secured communication channel. Receivers are able to verify the integrity of the data received by comparing with the corresponding digital credentials as recorded on blockchain. Such a blockchain-based solution offers a robust data verification mechanism among trusted parties, whilst ensuring that the generation and the use of the Macau health code fully complies with the Personal Data Protection Act of Macau.